A Morrisville man is on a motorcycle mission to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Guri Burmi is in the middle of a coast to coast motorcycle ride from the Triangle to California -- raising money and awareness about Type 1 Diabetes after his young nephew's diagnosis two years ago.
Perhaps the best view of Burmi's one-man mission comes from his motorcycle helmet cam. He's been recording much of the journey since departing Morrisville this past weekend in front of a garage-full of well-wishers.
"I want to give back to society. I want to try to see if we can cure this disease and make the lives of millions of people better," Burmi told ABC 11 via Zoom from a hotel room in Oklahoma.
He's calling this 6,200 mile voyage (back and forth) his "Coast 2 Coast Solo Winter Ride." It's a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). He says he was inspired to raise money and awareness about Type 1 Diabetes after his now 16-year-old nephew Arvad, who lives in Burmi's native Mumbai, India, was diagnosed in 2020.
"My nephew was in intensive care for about a week or so, a week to 10 days. And then even after it got diagnosed, now he has to live with it on a day to day basis," Burmi said.
So while nephew Arvad copes with the new challenges of a pancreas which is no longer producing the essential insulin the body needs to turn food into energy, Burmi is turning 50 -- and having a big life change of his own: He was laid off from his RTP tech job. And suddenly has a lot of time on his hands.
"So I thought I might as well make use of this time," he said. "Do something I'm passionate about and help out with the Type 1 Diabetes."
Tuesday night, Burmi's bike hit Oklahoma. He plans to take the iconic Route 66 all the way into Santa Monica, California.
"I migrated to this country about 21 years ago. And I've been in love with it ever since and everything that's American," Burmi said.
And while he rides, supporters from Morrisville and beyond are cheering him on via Whatsapp group chat -- all while Arvad keeps tabs on his uncle from India.
"My friends from all over the world, there are people from Australia, from India, from England, who are following me and who are encouraging me every day," Burmi said.
Over 1.4 million Americans are living with Type 1 Diabetes. 64,000 are diagnosed each day. Burmi's fundraiser for juvenile diabetes research is more than half way to its $3,000 goal.
He expects to arrive in California this weekend and be back home in Triangle by the end of next week.